READER REPORT:

Pride, to me, is being accepted

SAMANTHA BOTTING
Last updated 07:00 21/02/2014

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What does Pride mean to you?

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Pride, to me, comes in an array of sizes and shapes. Originally Pride emerged to me as the ability to say "I am gay" to the mirror without blushing at the age of 13.

Soon after, when I first saw the rainbow flag in the Auckland Pride Festival, Pride progressed to that terrific heart-swelling feeling.

Eventually, Pride evolved and took the form of my friends and family who rallied behind me when I stepped out of that forsaken closet and actively eliminated using "gay" derogatorily.

I have never shied away from my sexuality, no matter what curve-ball questions or statements have been thrown my way.

Pride is standing up for what you believe in and telling those who commented negatively to jog on.

Pride was innate, in my DNA. I think my Pride got tangled up as part of a self-preservation system I used to cope with coming from a small town. My Pride almost felt aggressive.

However, recently my pride has enormously changed, and it can probably be attributed to the same-sex marriage bill passing. I feel less like everyone is humming the chorus from Sesame Street's "one of these things is not like the others" in their heads when I walk into the room.

Now Pride to me is going to the Thieves Alley in the Octagon in Dunedin and holding my gorgeous girlfriend's hand and not being stared at.

Pride is the 12-year-old girl in a unicorn onesie who told us we were a cute couple, despite us not being official at the time.

Pride is when my girlfriend unashamedly holds my hand or kisses me in public, or the way she always smiles and does a little skip out to meet me when she first sees me.

Pride to me is being just another beautiful young couple in New Zealand. I don't mean ignored or overlooked nor is it being acknowledged. Pride to me, simply, is being accepted.

PS Thanks 12-year-old girl in the unicorn onesie, you gave me the courage to ask that stunning girl out and I am so happy! 


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